life’s a little lukewarm

I haven’t felt very inspirational lately. It’s been a little bit of a creative rut. My head (and my background in advertising, social media, and personal branding) is saying “post something!” but my heart says, “it’s not ready yet.” I like to make sure that what I’m posting feels true & good. 

So I’ve just sat with this feeling for a little while… not just in terms of posting content, but also in my everyday life. I wasn’t sure how to define it: numb? bored? stagnant? 

The late part of summer was intense in the best way: my heart and mind were on fire for my work. I had time to relax. I spent time with friends. I was tan. (Let’s be honest, it helps.)

Fast forward to now….

I should begin by saying that I have pretty high functioning anxiety. I get called out by images like this quite often:

I’m a perfectionist. A people-pleaser. A box-checker. A gal who thrives on the busyness. A ‘hustler’ if you will. An enneagram 2w3.

I’m also a human tornado— physically running from task to task, always late, causing messes in my wake. It’s an occupational hazard of who I am. However, when life speeds up to the point where I can’t handle the hustle & grind, I get even more anxious. My mind bops around like a ping pong ball and I just shut down. My heart races and I feel out of control. If there’s anything I dislike more than rushing it’s feeling like I don’t have the reins. My inner narrative finds the failure— I’m disappointing others, I’m disappointing myself, I’m not fulfilling my potential… you get the gist.

One week ago, I set a simple goal: don’t rush. Not to places, tasks, or events. If I take things slowly, I can more easily avoid those feelings of anxiety. 

Then bam — holiday weekend celebration led to a sinus infection. My body was run down. I was fatigued, congested, feeling like I had sinuses full of concrete. I was forced to take it slow. To rest. To sleep. To skip the gym. To give away a work shift.  To watch some movies that gave me a good cathartic cry. To see pockets of open time in my schedule again. To come up for air.

So, this week, my soul got to come up for air and truly look around at my life. I get a little comparative to seasons gone by and look forward to what is to come. I realize that life’s not so bad, but there’s still a heaviness.

I was talking with my best friend Jenna (many blog posts stem from our amazing conversations) and I told her how I was feeling but that I just couldn’t put my finger on exactly what the feeling was. 

She said, “Alex, what’s the one thing that you hope no one ever describes you as?” 

“Lukewarm.” 

I’ve said this to her before. It’s truly the one way I would never want to be described. I never want someone to describe me as lukewarm — how they feel about me, how they think I am, any of it. I was not made to be ‘okay’ or ‘in the middle.’ I don’t like lukewarm anything — I’m either fiery hot or ice cold. Pick a lane.

Aaaaaand now I’m feeling this weirdness because life is a little lukewarm right now. 

Sure, it’s 2020. It’s wild. It’s chaotic. It’s heavy. It’s hard. I’m anxious. I’m a spinning tornado. I’m rushing and wearing myself out. I’m busy. I’m working my ass off.

Despite this — I have to acknowledge that my life is still filled with SO MUCH GOOD. There is still some goodness to my days and my life and so much to be grateful for. I’m clothed, fed, and content. I FaceTime my mom. I connect with friends and strangers online. I’m employed & making money. I’m healthy (albeit a sinus infection that is now 95% recovered). I’m less than 9 months away from finishing my master’s degree. At the macro level, I’m blessed beyond measure.

However, because I thrive in the hustle, the stillness of the world haunts me. I feel lukewarm. I’m working hard but feel like I’m moving through mud. Climbing without sight of the top. Running a marathon where the finish line keeps moving further away.

I have to remember that while the water is lukewarm, I also don’t thrive when I’m boiling over. I have to find peaceful stillness in the middle ground, balance, and find joy in that space.

So, my prayer, my hope, my goal, my dream, is that my life begins to heat up just enough to bring back the fire in me… just to find that perfect level of simmer.

But first, maybe, I need to find gratitude in the lukewarm and sprinkle in a dash of patience.